Vis­it­ing Jay Leno’s Garage

Hot Rod - - There Turn Road - Zach Martin News Ed­i­tor @hotrod_zach

Ire­cently had the chance to see Jay Leno’s car col­lec­tion in Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia—talk about a mas­sive bucket-list item checked off. I had known the garage was vast, but see­ing it in per­son was an en­tirely dif­fer­ent story. I was in­vited by Chris Wal­ters, one of the cre­ators of the Jay Leno’s Garage Ad­vanced Ve­hi­cle Care prod­uct line, who over the years has stocked up vol­umes of knowl­edge about the col­lec­tion. Though we barely scratched the sur­face, I got the ve­hic­u­lar ed­u­ca­tion of a life­time.

Ev­ery room was like step­ping into an al­ter­nate re­al­ity. The cars, art on the walls, and the mem­o­ra­bilia—it’s all cu­rated as well as the Smith­so­nian In­sti­tu­tion. Un­like the Smith­so­nian, how­ever, ev­ery ve­hi­cle runs and drives, so the col­lec­tion’s owner can jump in (or on) what­ever he feels like and go get a cof­fee.

The high­light was meet­ing late-night en­ter­tain­ment roy­alty turned au­to­mo­tive en­cy­clo­pe­dia Jay Leno. Se­ri­ously, he has a work­ing knowl­edge of ev­ery ma­chine he owns and can tell you ev­ery­thing about a car be­fore you fig­ure out what make it is. Out­wardly, I kept it cool, but in­side, I was freak­ing out. One of the great things about Jay is that if you had no idea who he was, you’d think he’s just your av­er­age car en­thu­si­ast. He truly loves cars and the sto­ries they tell, just like the rest of us.

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